Mardi Gras, New Orleans
Despite the cancellations due to weather, this year’s Mardi Gras parades have been spectacular. My favorite parade, The Knights of Chaos, had to cancel due to weather, but Krewe D’etat carried on the satirical tradition of Mardi Gras in its Dirty Dishes Parade. Each float was designed around a food theme with names such as “Slow as Molasses,” referencing the rebuilding effort in New Orleans, “Rotten Apple Turnovers,” referencing the corrupt members of city hall, and “Fudge Nutty Brownie,” referencing Ray Nagin and his lack of presence over the last year. Though a fairly new parade, first rolling in 1998, D’etat resurrects the political and social commentary found in the earliest Mardi Gras parades. Instead of king, D’etat has a dictator who rules over the proceedings. The parade includes 21 floats, 40 Flambeaux (men who carry lit poles once used to light the way for the floats, now are more of a novelty), the United States Marine Band, Storyville Jazz Band, and high school marching bands. Throws include doubloons in five different colors, blinking logo skulls, blinking rubber skeletons, a plush high priest doll, and most importantly the Skeleton Walking Krewe hands out the D’etat Gazette. The parade newspaper includes the story behind the theme of the parade, a description of each float, and colorful illustrations of all the floats. A definite must have for any serious parade-goer.
I was very happy to secure a Gazette for myself as well doubloons and blinking skeletons. However, the famous plush toy was impossible to come by! By the time the krewe rolled, it was already two hours late. The crowds were huge this year, mostly because the parades were cancelled Thursday and Muses was rescheduled for Friday night. Unfortunately, screaming in 30 degree weather for three hours can get tiring, so I was unable to stay through midnight for the last two parades. However, it is not the quantity of parades, but the quality. D’etat’s parade of dirty dishes was worth the aches and coughs of the next day. One of my favorite parts of the parade included a group of marching men dressed in Michael Vick jerseys. Calling themselves the dog pound, the group danced with large bones followed by a trailer mocking Vick’s cruelty to animals. One of my favorite floats had to be “Pop Tarts.” Referencing the youth in Hollywood and their crazy antics, the float has a picture of Britney Spears as mother of the year with frightfully skinny girls, like Lindsay Lohan, coming out of a pop tart box. Krewe D’etat truly lived up to its name, “Live to Ride, Ride to Live.”